This is What I Like about the South

Feeling the need for an Independence week end getaway we decided to take ourselves down to Kinston and visit Kings BBQ Restaurant.
Kings BBQ Restaurant feeds Eastern NC barbecue lovers locally and nationwide, serving 8,000 pounds of pork, 6,000 pounds of chicken, and 1,500 pounds of collard greens a week! So it is obviously well recommended.
My initial curiosity was sparked by a clip as part of a NC tourist promotion and the YouTube extract is worth watching.
I had the pulled pork (which is why we went) and as a side dish I had the collard greens which are cooked with bacon. Together with the fried okra and freshly cooked chips we couldn’t manage a dessert – so we brought the pecan pie home with us. And yes, being well brought up and skilled in these matters I would never put ketchup on NC barbecue pork.
Kinston has a population of 21,000. The area is very agricultural – where else would you see highway billboards extolling the virtues of pesticides and fertilizers? The farmland is characterized by tobacco which is an indicator of poor soil. Kinson was badly affected by Hurricane Matthew last October
 as the restaurant marker shows.
It was a good trip and a very nice meal – plain homestyle Southern cooking at its best. The restaurant was pleasantly full but not crowded and our waitress Tina bustled around like the true professional she is.
Is it on the list for a revisit – yes it is!

Thoughts from London

Regular readers of my blog may have noticed that I have been quiet lately. This reticence is partly because my bloggable life has not been that eventful.
However not long after the London Bridge terrorist outrage, I dined at the George Inn in Southwark (just south of London Bridge).
The George Inn was
built in 1677 and is the only galleried inn in London. The street was reasonably busy, since London Bridge is a major railway terminus for the Kent towns. The George is quite close to the site of the Tabard which features in the opening lines of the Canterbury Tales:

At nyght was come into the hostelrye
Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye
Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
In felaweshipe, and pilgrims were they alle,
That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde

The George was busy and the coaching area was now full of drinking people enjoying each other’s company before going home. The two bouncers at the front of the yard may have been permanent and not just because of terrorist security issues.
I sensed that the overall feeling in London was of not letting the security situation get one down or restrict one’s social life.
Ten days later I treated myself to a fish and chip supper at the Fishbone in Cleveland Street (between Great Portland Street and Tottenham Court Road). Coincidentally opposite the restaurant was the George & Dragon pub. From what I could see it was not very large but there were about a hundred people outside drinking and enjoying themselves as if the terrorism threat was totally elsewhere.
Perhaps it is all in the survivorship genes. People are around today because their ancestors survived previous horrors. If you don’t keep going forward then you lose out on the game of life.

Rome is calling

No, not in the sense that my New Year Resolution is to be elected Pope by acclamation like St. Fabian. It’s just that the New Year’s Eve Spectator contained the gem that best food market in Rome is the Mercato Testaccio and the thing to eat there is a smordi-e-vai-aandwich from Mordi e Vai called el panino all’allesso which is a bread roll dunked in dripping then layered with tender slices of beef. Just the thing to stock up the waistline prior to Lenten contemplation. Meanwhile the Spectator’s weekly competition focussed on meaningless, pseudo-profound statements. The prize winners (£5 each) included the following:
The camel of forgetfulness knows more than the python of curiosity.
It is sometimes wiser to circle the square than to square the circle.
No snail by wishing can become an elephant.
But my favourite is: A ceiling keeps thing in, a roof keeps things out. – just the sort of thing a budding realtor should  know about.

Squirrel as an Economic Indicator

SquirrelMy UKIP friends in Suffolk talk about the Chihuahua of Doom (see previous blog on 22nd December 2013) but I’m indebted to columnist A.C. Snow of Raleigh’s News & Observer for the comment that he has a friend who assures him that the local economy is in good shape. The barometer of financial well being is the squirrel population.
Apparently during the bad patches people eat squirrel and they are not doing that now! According to chef Georgia Pellegrini squirrel hunting is more American than apple pie…. Few things are more intertwined with American history and tradition.
Squirrel is, in fact, one of the most popular game animals in the eastern United States. Squirrel also features in the 1931 book Joy of Cooking. Our edition dates from 1980 but the recipes are still there.
Please see:
http://www.newsobserver.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/ac-snow/article49250445.html http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/01/22/why-eat-squirrel-really.html
http://www.thejoykitchen.com

Strawberry Risotto Anyone?

strawberries
strawberries

Last week’s Spectator contains a review of the book High Dive* which is a fictionalized account of the bombing of Brighton’s Grand Hotel in 1984.
Fictionalised because the book contains a reference to the chef whose signature dish of  “Strawberry Risotto topped with Parmegiano Stardust would be enough to make anyone go on hunger strike”

*High Dive is by Jonathan Lee and published by Heinemann

 

Hadleigh Town Council

My very Whiting Rgood friend Richard Whiting has been elected Mayor of Hadleigh for the next year. He is a very experienced Councillor and will bring an appropriate level of gravitas to the job. One of his tasks will be to represent the town at social functions. Judging by the experience of his predecessors he will be invited to over fifty such occasions and will thus become an expert on canapés and outside caterers!
Richard ran on a Lib-Dem ticket and I suspect that he will be the last Lib-Dem Mayor for a considerable time.
Hadleigh Town Council meets monthly and one of my functions is to give a report on my activities and matters affecting the town. As I am no longer a District Councillor I expect my reports to be shorter than heretofore and my report for May is attached. Please see HTC Report 150517

Eating for England

Brian at Katz'sLast week I was taken to lunch at Katz’s Delicatessen, also known as Katz’s of New York City. It is a kosher style (not kosher) delicatessen restaurant located at 205 Houston Street, on the southwest corner of Houston and Ludlow Streets on the Lower East Side in Manhattan, New York City. Since its founding in 1888, it has become popular among locals and tourists alike for its pastrami sandwiches and hot dogs, both of which are widely considered among New York’s best. I went for the pastrami sandwich and as can be seen it looked as though I was eating for England. Was it worthwhile – you betcha! And I also took half a portion of chips and some dill pickles but I eschewed the lettuce as overly green things tend to be harmful.Katz's Delicatessen
As well as being a world famous delicatessen it was the feature restaurant in Where Harry met Sally and there is a sign in the restaurant indicating the exact location of that famous scene. More information can be found on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katz%27s_Delicatessen